Trans Am Ready For Ryan Companies Races at Road America
August 22, 2018
57 entries span two competitions as championship battles continue
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. [August 22, 2018] – The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will make its 46th appearance at Road America this weekend, featuring a 57-car entry for the Ryan Companies Road America Classic weekend, August 23-25.
Trans Am will feature in two 101.2-mile, 25-lap contests around the iconic 4.048-mile circuit: the Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge featuring the TA2, powered by AEM, class and the multi-class Ryan Companies Road America Classic with the TA, TA3 and TA4 classes taking part.
With Trans Am entering its compact final stretches of the season, championship races are in full swing across all classes with Road America poised to play a pivotal role, and a chance to shine, as one of the truly unique circuits in North America. From a trio of TA class competitors’ pursuit of points leader and defending class champ, Ernie Francis, Jr.; to the TA2 battle between Rafa Matos and Tony Buffomante; to Alline Cipriani’s surprise ascension to the top of TA3; there is plenty to watch for throughout the weekend.
Through six rounds of TA class action, Ernie Francis, Jr., has topped the podium four times and is yet to miss out on a top three finish. As a result, Francis and the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang sit atop the class championship standings by 45 points; but with five races remaining in the unpredictable world of sprint format road racing, nothing is guaranteed.
In pursuit of Francis is Lawrence Loshak, driver of the No. 2 Pennzoil/ ETE REMAN/ GoShare Chevrolet Camaro, currently second in the championship and ready for some home track magic. After a rough start to open the season, Loshak and the No. 2 have rattled off three podiums finishes in four races, including a career-first TA class victory at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Now Loshak, a resident of Shorewood, Wisconsin, will look to continue that streak in his home state.
A mere five points behind Loshak is the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V of David Pintaric, still pushing for a year end championship podium in his most successful Trans Am season to date. Pintaric stands two points ahead of Chris Dyson, in the No. 20 Plaid Crafts Ford Mustang, and is looking to rebound after a somewhat tumultuous round at Mid-Ohio that saw the No. 20 sidelined early in the race.
Hailing from nearby Appleton, Wisconsin, is the most successful TA class competitor at Road America in recent years: Cliff Ebben, pilot of the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang. Ebben has three career TA class victories at Road America, trailing Tommy Kendall for most in Series history, with Ebben’s coming in 2009, 2011 and 2016.
Also racing out of Wisconsin are Denny Lamers, driver of the No. 66 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang, also of Appleton; Trans Am debutant Natalie Decker, in the No. 44 Ave Racing Chevrolet Corvette, of Eagle River; and Dave Ruehlow, in the No. 31 Ruehlow Racing Chevrolet Corvette, of Hartland.
Boris Said, in the No. 21 Monster Energy Dodge Challenger, and Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates/ Jetco Chevrolet Corvette, like Ebben and Francis, also stand as returning race winners at Road America—theirs coming in 2015 and 2002, respectively.
Another past Road America victor is Greg Pickett, in the No. 6 Flavor Insights Ford Mustang, who will also be in attendance for the TA class, making his 186th career Trans Am start. Pickett was the Trans Am Category II winner in 1978, en route to his driver’s championship.
Paul Fix, in the No. 4 StopFlex/The Car Coach Ford Mustang, has started on the front row in each of the past three races but is yet to see his efforts rewarded by a podium finish following a bizarre streak of occurrences, including gremlins and being clipped by a lapped car. Now, with those behind him, Fix will hope his consistent speed can finally be showcased at Road America.
Also featuring in the TA class will be Tomy Drissi, Kerry Hitt, Amy Ruman, Richard Grant, Tom Ellis, and Kenny Bupp.
In TA2, the season-long Muscle Car Challenge continues, with Rafa Matos and the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro holding an 18-point lead atop the class standings with four wins across seven races.
Hot in pursuit of Matos is the No. 34 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang of Tony Buffomante, who has kept the No. 88 of Matos within reach through five podium finishes of his own. Buffomante also has a history of success at Road America, a second place finish just last year and a victory in 2016.
That is not to say Matos has not showcased speed of his own on the Wisconsin circuit, as Matos captured pole last year but exited the competition following contact only four laps in.
Also enjoying a streak of success in TA2 is Scott Lagasse, Jr., in the No. 95 SLR Fields Racing/ M1 Chevrolet Camaro, currently with two consecutive podium finishes. While not a contender for the championship, Lagasse has proven over the past two events he is more than capable of mixing it up with the leaders on any given day.
Currently battling for third in the TA2 championship points are Jordan Bupp, in the No. 80 Bupp Motorsports Ford Mustang, and Keith Prociuk, in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Camaro, with only nine points separating the two drivers.
A familiar face will return to TA2 action this weekend with Dillon Machavern joining the Stevens-Miller Racing duo of Ethan Wilson, in the No. 49 Berryman/ Prefix Dodge Challenger, and Anthony Honeywell, in the No. 76 Honeywell Competition/ Prefix Chevrolet Camaro. Machavern, a four-time TA2 race winner, will pilot the No. 77 Berryman/ Prefix Ford Mustang, as he makes his first Trans Am appearance since Round 9 of the 2017 championship at Watkins Glen International.
Five members of the NASCAR Xfinity Series will also compete in Trans Am’s TA2 class, with Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft and Christopher Bell featuring for Mike Cope Racing Enterprises in the No. 14, 24, 25 and 26 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustangs, while Ty Majeski makes his TA2 debut in the No. 00 Newman Wachs Racing Ford Mustang.
Doug Peterson debuted his new No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang last round at Mid-Ohio to a much improved fifth place finish, with the 2013 and 2014 TA class Road America victor now interjecting himself into the TA2 contenders conversation. Sports car veteran Misha Goikberg, in the No. 25 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro, and Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 44 ECC/ Anchor Bolt & Screw Chevrolet Camaro, will feature as well.
In the TA3 class, 2017 race winner Jason Daskalos returns in the No. 27 Daskalos Racing Dodge Viper, for his annual Trans Am appearance at Road America, where the sheer power of Dodge Vipers, Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Corvettes will be pitted against the more nimble ranks of Porsche, Ginetta and BMW.
Also with V10 engines of their own are Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, Dirk Leuenberger, in the No. 35 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, and 2015 TA3 champion Lee Saunders, in the No. 84 V10PWR Racing Dodge Viper.
So far, 2018 has been good to Cindi Lux, with two podium finishes to kick-start her campaign, including a third career TA3 victory at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. For Leuenberger, Lux’s teammate, Road America will mark his first Trans Am appearance of the year.
Tasked with navigating the field of Vipers is current points leader Alline Cipriani, who pilots a far different machine: the No. 60 Ginetta USA Ginetta G55. Despite her consistency, Cipriani is yet to capture a victory in TA3 and must now pit her lightweight Ginetta against the Road America expanse.
Making his TA3 debut will be Brady Refenning, in the No. 04 LSI/ Sam Pierce/ FAST Chevrolet Corvette, joining teammate Larry Bailey, in the No. 02 LSI/ Sam Pierce/FAST Chevrolet Corvette, who captured a third place finish in his last TA3 appearance at Pitt.
DWW Motorsports will also return to TA3 action, as they continue their development of a pair of FP350s Ford Mustangs: the No. 07 DWW/ Racetech/ Exploit Ford Mustang of Brian Kleeman, and the No. 09 DWW/ itrackzone/ PFC Ford Mustang of Chris Ouzten. Pitt marked the debut for both machines in current trim; and while new car mechanical issues hampered their finishing order, both machines showed pace throughout the event.
Marko Radisic made his 2018 Trans Am debut last round at Mid-Ohio, piloting the No. 22 Precision Driving BMW M4 GT4 to a third place finish and will pursue another podium this weekend.
As of the publication of this release, Warren Dexter, in the No. 61 Joe’s Hand Cleaner Ginetta G55, stood the single entrant in the TA4 class.
Both the Ryan Companies Road America Classic and Muscle Car Challenge will be live streamed on Motor Trend On Demand, while the weekend will be showcased on CBS Sports network on a one-hour highlights show on tape-delay.
Trans Am is joined on the weekend by NASCAR Xfinity holding the Johnsonville 180 and the Speed Energy Stadium Super Tracks.
Fans can keep up with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli throughout the event at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.
Trans Am Ryan Companies Event Schedule:
Thursday August 23, 2018
1:50 PM – 2:20 PM TA2 Practice 1
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM TA, TA3 and TA4 Practice 1
Friday August 24, 2018
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM TA2 Practice 2
10:45 AM – 11:15 AM TA, TA3 and TA4 Practice 2
1:30 PM -- 2:00 PM Fuel Up with Lux Performance
4:10 PM – 4:30 PM TA2 Qualifying
4:35 PM – 4:55 PM TA Qualifying
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM TA3, TA4 Qualifying
Saturday August 25, 2018
8:00 AM – 9:10 AM Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge (TA2)
10:10 AM – 11:20 AM Ryan Companies Road America Classic (TA, TA3 and TA4)
all times Central
Live Streaming on Motor Trend On Demand:
Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge (TA2): August 25, 8:00 AM CT
Ryan Companies Road America Classic (TA, TA3 and TA4): August 25, 10:10 AM CT
Trans Am’s races at Road America will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network:
Ryan Companies Trans Am at Road America Recap – September 16, 2:00 PM ET
Live Timing: All on-track sessions can be followed at www.gotransam.com and on the Race Monitor app available on Windows, Android, iOS and OSX.
Text Commentary: Updates provided throughout sessions on Twitter at @gotransam.